The View From Mt. Airy: Hockey Hall of Fame 2016 06-27-16

VANCOUVER, BC - JUNE 15: Mark Recchi #28 of the Boston Bruins hoists the Stanley Cup after defeating the Vancouver Canucks 4-0 in Game Seven of the 2011 NHL Stanley Cup Finals at the Rogers Arena on June 15, 2011 in Vancouver, Canada. (Photo by Dave Sandford/NHLI via Getty Images)
VANCOUVER, BC – JUNE 15: Mark Recchi #28 of the Boston Bruins hoists the Stanley Cup after defeating the Vancouver Canucks 4-0 in Game Seven of the 2011 NHL Stanley Cup Finals at the Rogers Arena on June 15, 2011 in Vancouver, Canada. (Photo by Dave Sandford/NHLI via Getty Images)

@MtAiryPhil

PHILADELPHIA, PA

The NHL Hall Class of 2016 will be announced on Monday night June 27th and it’s not as if this one will be easy, because it features the weakest 1st-year eligible group in years. Why is that more relevant this year than most? Because the incumbents, those like Eric Lindros, an all-time hockey enigma, are amongst those on that bubble of immortality. For six years the debate has raged on as to whether 88, such a polarizing figure in his sport since he defied the ruling class of the NHL as a junior superstar and pretty much manipulated a wealthy and soft landing in Philadelphia. Injuries and drama plagued Lindros over the course of a career shortened by severe concussions and marked by the never ending feud involving Eric Lindros his parents Bonnie and Carl and Flyers GM Bobby Clarke. How much this effects his legacy and hindered production is anyone’s guess. However, Lindros has 373 goals and 492 assists so while his total of 865 points may not get him in top tens and all time lists, he accomplished those numbers in just 760 regular season games. Waiting six years I think is enough, and I believe now that he’s back in the Flyers “family” and the addition of Bob Clarke to the selection committee gets him the nod Monday.

Next up, and this gotta be a lock, is Mark Recchi. Not only did he play 22 seasons he played them at the highest level, winning three Stanley Cups as a player. He retired as the 12th all-time leading scorer and 4th in total games played. Mark Recchi is also the oldest player in NHL history to score a Cup winning goal  with Boston in 2011 after declaring his desire to skate off into the sunset. He also won the Cup three times with three different teams (Penguins, Hurricanes and Bruins) and put up 577 goals and 956 assists for 1,533 points over 22 NHL seasons. Fellow nominee Rod Brind’Amour said of Recchi: “I don’t know what more you need to do to be a Hall of Fame player.” Recchi  defined winner and tomorrow night has to be recognized by his peers for his contributions to the game. His 92 season of 52 goals and 70 assists remain one of the most remarkable I’ve seen in any sport and earns him a place in this class alongside his linemate Eric Lindros.

My 2016 Hall of Fame bubble:

SERGEI MAKAROV: His 384 NHL points and Calder Trophy season as rookie of the year must be combined with his dominant international career for the Soviet Union when Makarov averaged 1.37 points a game, won two Olympic gold medals and eight world championships.

DAVE ANDREYCHUK: The captain of the 2004 Cup champion Tampa Bay Lightning put up 1,338 points in 1,639 regular-season games over 23 seasons.

ALEXANDER MOGILNY: Second only to 2015 inductee Sergei Fedorov in NHL points among Russians with 1,032, Mogilny won the Cup and was a six-time All-Star in 16 seasons.

PAUL KARIYA: Like Lindros, concussions cut Kariya’s career short, but he finished with 989 points in 989 games over 15 seasons and made the All-Star Game seven times.

JEREMY ROENICK: His 1,216 points rank him fourth among U.S. players and the top three — Brett Hull, Mike Modano and Phil Housley — are all in.

CURTIS JOSEPH: Not winning a Cup hurts a goaltender, but his 454 victories are the most of any not in the Hall.

ROD BRIND’AMOUR: Was captain of the 2006 Cup champion Carolina Hurricanes, had 1,184 points and won the Selke Trophy as the top defensive forward.

THEO FLEURY: Overcame his 5-foot-6 size disadvantage to put up 1,084 points and win almost everything: the Stanley Cup, Canada Cup, Olympic gold medal and world junior gold medal.

CHRIS OSGOOD: Won the Cup twice as a starting goalie and again as a backup, but benefited from playing on talented Detroit Red Wings teams.

Remember to follow me on Twitter @MtAiryPhil

Thursday’s Thoughts on Rams Draft and Blues Playoffs

DraftLogoSt. Louis, MO

(@RealShaneGray)

Earlier this month, the Los Angeles Rams traded a plethora of premium 2016 and 2017 draft picks to the Tennessee Titans in exchange for the number one overall selection in the 2016 NFL Draft. In doing so, the Rams bet the farm on the hope that either Jared Goff or Carson Wentz will become the league’s next elite quarterback and help lift the former St. Louis-based franchise out of a decade-plus stretch of frustration and futility.

In giving up a first, two seconds and a third rounder this year and first and third round selections next year, L.A. essentially sealed the franchise’s fate for the next several seasons.

After relinquishing so much draft capital to move up to get their gunslinger, the Rams bold move will do one of two things:

If it works, they have landed themselves a top-tier quarterback to go along with a potentially dominant defense and ground game, and the move will help elevate the organization to the upper echelon of the NFL in rather short order.

If it fails, the risky trade with the Titans will set the franchise back several more seasons and likely keep the franchise fumbling in the won-loss column for several more years.

In short, this trade will all but make or break the Rams hopes to turn the corner in California. This was an all-boom or all-bust deal. Time will tell the tale on how it plays out for Stan Kroenke and company.

Speaking of the Rams Trade…

Unfortunately , St. Louis fans and media alike learned that the Rams front office  — led by team CEO Kevin Demoff — was good at a few things not remotely related to winning football games: lying, manipulating and serving themselves.

With that understood, I couldn’t help but laugh when hearing that the Rams chose to wait a day to announce the aforementioned trade for the number one pick so as to not take away from the final home game of Lakers all-time great Kobe Bryant.

Of course, the Rams made sure to let everyone know that they postponed the news an extra day rather than just quietly announcing the trade the next day and leaving it at that. That’s the Rams, though.

For anyone unclear of the Rams motives, let me break it down for you:

The Rams did that for the Rams. That’s it.

They desired to appeal to Lakers fans by attempting to show consideration for their fan base in an effort to help the Rams and nobody but the Rams. It’s really that simple.

The Rams PR machine continues to be predictably pathetic.

How ‘Bout Those Blues? 

After securing a three games to one advantage over the Chicago Blackhawks in the first round of the NHL’s Western Conference playoffs, the Blues started looking like the same old Blues in faltering to a 3-3 series tie as fans wondered if it was yet another hear-we-go-again- postseason collapse.

But this year, with all the chips on the line, St. Louis stepped up with a thrilling game 7 win at home to the delight of Blues faithful.

As the club is now just a series win away from their first Stanley Cup appearance since 1970, a Finals appearance couldn’t come at a better time for either the Blues or the STL.

With the Rams and the NFL freshly departed, this would be the ideal time for the Blues to grab the attention of former Rams fans who may be looking for another local pro club to turn their attention to. With many football fans feeling scorned, what better time for the Blues to pack the bandwagon than right now? What better time to grow some future die-hard fans with a Stanley Cup appearance just months after the Rams exit?

And for St. Louis, what better time for the Blue note to win a Stanley Cup than right now, with so many sports fans and St. Louisans in general feeling disappointment following the exodus of the world’s preeminent sports league?

Whether you are one of the many have moved on from the Rams move or one of many others who haven’t, this would be a perfect time for the city’s great sports fans and the region in general to enjoy some good fortunes in relation to the region’s pro-sports landscape.

Now perhaps more than over, St. Louis wants to see the Blues get this done and they may have a better shot than they have in awhile to do just that.

Thanks for reading…

SG

The A-Train Rant 21.0!!

Ranting-Homer

Happy New Year one and all, it’s time for the 1st rant of 2015…

  1. Stuart Scott is Mr. SportsCenter, I can care less what you think. Not being biased either.
  2. Pau Gasol is a blessing to Chicago. Thank you Jim Buss.
  3. Jimmy Butler is not only an All-Star, he’s playing like an MVP.
  4. Stephen Curry is amazing…maybe he should be the MVP.
  5. I dislike Steve Kerr still; that Warriors team will forever be Mark Jackson’s.
  6. The Atlanta Hawks will not go to the Eastern Conference Finals this season. I don’t give a damn how good they’re doing right now.
  7. Stan Kroenke gave the NFL the finger and was straight gangster with it.
  8. The Cleveland Cavaliers added two cancers to the team after trading one of them (Dion Waiters traded, received J.R. Smith and Iman Shumpert)
  9. There’s no need for a committee for the College Football Playoff, just call it the BCS College Football Playoff and let the computers decide.
  10. Oregon will win the national championship; screw you Buckeye fans.
  11. I’m cheering for the Cowboys this weekend…just like you…I can’t believe it either.
  12. I’m not watching hockey until March/April…that’s when the real fun begins just like the NBA.
  13. I feel sorry for Marvin Lewis and Jim Caldwell…only of these men will get the short end of the stick.
  14. So when does baseball season start?
  15. Dirk Nowitzki is better than Larry Bird. (Became 7th all-time leading scorer in NBA history)
  16. “BOOYAH!”
  17. “Cool as the other side of the pillow.”
  18. “I ain’t gone say nothing, but that ain’t right.”
  19. Rich Eisen is awesome. Never forget your colleague and friend. Classy move.
  20. Shoutout to every sports team that honored Stuart Scott.

MORE TO COME…I THINK. STAY TUNED.

The A-Train

Follow the Train @thealaneii

Twitter: @nthezonesports

Facebook: N The Zone Sports

 

The Best Is Yet To Come (No Jokers Wild Card)

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Think about this… Baseball’s extra Wild Card element added for the first time this year gives more sports drama because of last year’s almost incidentally awesome last day. That last day of diligence, drama, and dreams was created in the unlikely but unforgettable last day of last year’s regular season that was happening in four different games.

Because of this extra wildcard now in 2012, teams like the Cincinnati Reds have a chance to shatter the Cards’ playoff dreams instead of just sitting pretty atop the Central Division waiting for a 1st round playoff opponent.

The Reds can be both division winners and Wild Card spoilers! This duality is the new reality of the 2012 postseason race.

The great schedule makers have Cincinnati meeting its division nemesis, the Cardinals, for a three-game regular-season finale of a series that begins Monday. Oh yes, plenty is at stake. Before the playoffs, the National League Central champion Reds can also bounce St. Louis from this new 2012 second Wild Card spot. The Cardinals entered the day with a two-game advantage over the surging L.A. Dodgers.

For the first time ever, the three headed monster of quality teams in the American League West can all battle it out for playoff positioning down the last few games of the season and two of the three will likely get in. Even next year all three teams could have a postseason game. This 2012 change increases the rewards of a division championship and allows two additional cities in the great U.S.A. or Canada to experience playoff baseball each year, all while maintaining the most exclusive postseason in professional sports.

The National and American League Championship Series and World Series formats will remain the same, keeping baseball purists happy still.

Let’s get back to the National League playoff picture. Although the scenario is different this year for the Cardinals to get into the playoffs the revenge factor is intriguing from the standpoint of the Atlanta Braves. Of course The Braves want to get back at the Cards for last year’s epic failure when they held a double digit lead in the standings over the Cards and losing that lead ultimately on the final day of the season. Yes, the Braves ultimately controlled their own destiny but couldn’t hold off the surging LaRussa Lead legacy of champions.

As a St. Louis sports fan, I’ve been blessed to almost always find myself switching back and forth between meaningful and or playoff cardinal baseball and Blues opening season hockey on the same nights for a few weeks in October. Well this year with no NHL hockey and me not playing hockey due to my schedule I hope to see some games on the hockey schedule! But for baseball even the casual or impatient sports fans who often mock the game of baseball can’t help but respect what our national past time has done to help the fan experience exceed expectations.

On the hockey front; I think I’ll wait till’ some of my teammates are ready to get into the swing of the real winter season before I lace up my skates to play some real games. Oh and let’s not forget about the new college friend who will be needing an early season warm welcome back to STL with a pickup game or two in December.

Predictions– These baseball teams will make the playoffs: Senior circuit: Braves, Cards, Nationals, Giants, Reds – Junior circuit: Rangers, A’s, Yankees, Orioles, Tigers

World Series Prediction: Cardinals versus A’s

Prediction for my sports life: Time will be found to play hockey in our league with my teammates and time to play pickup hockey with old and new friends in between the grueling but grateful schedule of producing programing!

-Bryan Kreutz